I’m in the final stretch of my 2011 Oscar predictions, and only one acting category remains- Best Actor. Should I even bother writing this post? This category has the least amount of suspense heading to the 83rd Academy Awards. The statue is practically engraved with the name of this race’s clear frontrunner. There’s absolutely no way in hell an upset is brewing in this field.
The category features two first time nominees (James Franco & Jesse Eisenberg), two previous winners (Javier Bardem & Jeff Bridges) and another who’s had his date with an Oscar statue booked months ago (Colin Firth). In a unique twist, one of the nominees, is also one of this year’s co-hosts. So while the rest of them are sweating it out in the audience, Franco has to also entertain the millions of people watching the show. Talk about added pressure. Take a closer look at this year’s Best Actor nominees, and don’t forget to cast your vote for your favorite nominated actor afterwards.
Previous Nominations: Before Night Falls (2000), No Country for Old Men (2007 – Won)
He already has a Oscar on his mantle and hasn’t really been a factor in any of the precursors. He scored a Best Actor award at the Spanish Oscars and a BAFTA nomination, and that’s pretty much it. Definite longshot.
Movie: True Grit
Previous Nominations: The Last Picture Show (1971), Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), Starman (1984), The Contender (2000), Crazy Heart (2009 – Won)
After four previous nominations, Bridges finally won an Oscar on his fifth nomination at last year’s ceremony. He earns his sixth nod playing Rooster Cogburn in the Coen Brothers’ “True Grit”. Nominated at all the major awards with exception to the Golden Globes, where Grit was pretty much snubbed. Doesn’t have enough buzz to earn back-to-back Oscars. He’s already got his consolation Oscar.
Movie: the social network
Previous Nominations: First time nominee
If there’s a person who could stop Colin Firth’s eventual coronation, it’d have to be Eisenberg. He started off the awards season by winning a couple of key critics awards including the National Board of Review, but since then, has played bridesmaid to Firth. The social network is losing steam, and so are Eisenberg’s Oscar chances. No doubt, we’ll be seeing this young talent at future Oscars. He was phenomenal as Zuckerberg.
Movie: The King’s Speech
Previous Nominations: A Single Man (2009)
He’s been so good for so many years, that I was surprised he only earned his first Oscar nomination last year. Travesty. Ever since “The King’s Speech” debuted early 2010, he has been a major contender to win Best Actor. As the days to Oscars approached, the buzz surrounding him grew to deafening levels. He’s the surest thing at the Academy Awards this year. He’s likable, has a great resume and most importantly, he’s fantastic as King George VI.
Movie: 127 Hours
Previous Nominations: First time nominee
I can’t believe this is Franco’s first Oscar nomination. Will first timer’s luck be a factor on Oscar night? Probably not. He’s been honored at all the precursors alongside Eisenberg and Firth, but never won. He’s third man in this totem pole. In the history of the Oscars, no host has ever won a golden statue while on hosting duties. If Franco does a great job at co-hosting, I’m sure that’ll help him out for any future Oscar nominations. At least by the time they announce his award, it’ll most likely be in the finishing stretch of the marathon show.
If I were a betting man, and I am, Colin Firth is the safest bet at this year’s awards. There’s absolutely nothing stopping him from winning Sunday night. If he does lose, it’ll be one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history.
WILL WIN: Colin Firth
SHOULD WIN: Colin Firth
Movie: Blue Valentine
Previous Nominations: Half Nelson (2006)
The Academy previously awarded him with a nomination in 2006 and his “Blue Valentine” co-star, Michelle Williams, scored an Oscar nod, but Gosling was inexplicably shut out. If you’ve seen Valentine, you know he’s equally as deserving as Williams is. To prep for the role, both Williams and him moved in together and lived off a budget similar to those of their characters. Total method actors. If it were up to me, I would swap out either Bridges and Bardem for Gosling. But I guess with Eisenberg and Franco in the field, there wasn’t room for another younger actor on the list. While the Academy loves rewarding younger actresses, the same can’t be true for their male counterparts. In their eyes, the older the better.